Why we should stop sharing the picture of twins holding hands at birth

Yesterday, I went into a store, and upon seeing I had twins, a woman immediately asked me if I had seen the picture of the twins born holding hands. I told her I had, and that my girls are mono mono too.

“Oh!” she said, “wasn’t that so sweet?”

Yes, it is sweet, and that mum is really lucky; not only were her girls holding hands, but they were a good size and born near Mother’s Day.

I first saw the photos on one of the MoMo support groups on facebook, which that same mum is also a part of. At first, I thought the same, so sweet. Then I was seeing the picture everywhere and I wanted it to stop.

For so many reasons, that picture saddens me, and also somewhat angers me. Many of the information being written is incorrect, which is frustrating. That misinformation is leading to people commenting how they want mono mono twins; how lucky we are, how close our kids must be. I’m lucky because I have two beautiful girls who survived. I would hardly describe my pregnancy as lucky; their emergency c-section wasn’t filled with luck, and snap worthy moments, but instead, it was filled with fear, and our girls didn’t even get a second to be photographed because they weren’t breathing on their own. Ella’s birth simply took too long, she came out, but we couldn’t ooh and ahh. That picture reminds me how close we were to a different ending.

That picture saddens me because so many of our fellow mono mono Mamas have lost one or both of their babes. I would hardly say they’re lucky. I wouldn’t say the doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, specialists, and NICU time are sweet.

One picture does not represent the worry, anxiety, fear, sadness, and regret. It doesn’t convey how our pregnancies feel stolen from us, how we feel like failures.

Yes, that picture and that birth are beautiful. Unfortunately, seeing it everywhere I look, and then being reminded of it when I leave the house, immediately brings back the feelings I had at the girls’ birth and subsequent NICU stay. Of course, strangers wouldn’t know, wouldn’t understand. If we’re going to share the lucky moments and the good stories, let’s remember the heartache, the Mamas who never got to meet their babies, the babies who struggled to breathe, to live.

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2 thoughts on “Why we should stop sharing the picture of twins holding hands at birth

  1. I love this post, thank you for writing it!
    It’s almost strange the disconnect we have between the generally romanticized idea of what birth is like, and what it actually ends up being for many, many mothers. Sick babies, babies who don’t make it, all the worries and appointments and tears and what-ifs. We somehow managed to get extremely lucky with our 25-weeker (di/di) twins, but we always got a lot of “so and so’s mom’s cousin’s friend had a preemie and he went to Harvard and is now a rocket scientist!”. The fact that some babies do better than expected doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots of babies who don’t (and lots of parents whose hearts will always be broken). I now realize that it is actually a pretty big privilege to be able to see photos like the one you mentioned and just see them as ‘cute’ instead of something bittersweet. The comments are well-intentioned, of course, but it’s unfortunate that so much of what becomes reality for so many families is so unknown.

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